Living conditions

The "assembly centers" were hastily erected quarters located throughout the West Coast at fairgrounds, racetracks and other similar facilities. Conditions at these locations were appalling. People were housed in animal stalls and barracks with communal bathrooms and mess halls. Privacy was next to nonexistent. Most families lived in a 20-by-20-foot room separated from the next "apartment" by wood partitions that did not reach the ceiling. Shortages of food and deplorable sanitation were common. Overcrowding, uncertainty, and stress created tension in the "assembly centers," even as the demoralized camp inmates tried to improve living conditions.

World War II (215)
Temporary Assembly Centers (175)
Living conditions (364)

364 items
View of barracks (ddr-densho-151-350)
img View of barracks (ddr-densho-151-350)
Original caption: San Bruno, California. Looking down one of the avenues between rows of barracks. The ones on the right are converted horse stalls, and those on the left are newly constructed and typical of an assembly center and relocation centers throughout the west. They are 100 feet long, covered with black tar paper, contain five …
Woman and children outside barracks (ddr-densho-151-73)
img Woman and children outside barracks (ddr-densho-151-73)
Original WRA caption: Stockton, California. This family just arrived in the Stockton center this morning. The mother and the children wait at the door of the room in the barracks to which they have been assigned, while the father is at the baggage depot where the bedding and clothing are being unloaded and inspected for contraband.
Baggage inspection (ddr-densho-151-29)
img Baggage inspection (ddr-densho-151-29)
Original WRA caption: Stockton, California. Hand baggage is being inspected for contraband upon the arrival of evacuees of Japanese ancestry to this Assembly Center.
Racetrack at Stockton Assembly Center (ddr-densho-151-28)
img Racetrack at Stockton Assembly Center (ddr-densho-151-28)
Original WRA caption: Stockton, California. Noon on a hot day at the Stockton Assembly Center, which is a converted fairgrounds. This photograph shows the old race track. This center has been opened a week and evacuees will arrive daily until the capacity of 5000 is reached.
Baggage inspection (ddr-densho-151-8)
img Baggage inspection (ddr-densho-151-8)
Original WRA caption: Turlock, California. Baggage is inspected as families arrive at Turlock assembly center. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be transferred later to War Relocation Authority centers where they will spend the duration.
Assembly center new arrivals (ddr-densho-151-4)
img Assembly center new arrivals (ddr-densho-151-4)
Original WRA caption: Stockton, California. Noon on a hot day at the Stockton Assembly center, which is a converted fairgrounds. This group of people on the race track are new arrivals who have been registered, inspected, medically examined, and are now on their way to their assigned places in the barracks.
Assembly center barracks (ddr-densho-151-25)
img Assembly center barracks (ddr-densho-151-25)
Original WRA caption: San Bruno, California. Barracks for family living quarters. Each door enters into a family unit of two small rooms. Tanforan Center was opened two days before this photo was made. The truck seen coming down the dirt road is bringing bed-rolls and baggage to evacuees who have just arrived and are occupying these …
Assembly center new arrivals standing in lines (ddr-densho-151-60)
img Assembly center new arrivals standing in lines (ddr-densho-151-60)
Original WRA caption: San Bruno, California. This assembly center has been open for two days. Bus-load after bus-load of evacuated persons of Japanese ancestry are arriving on this day after going through the necessary procedures, they are guided to the quarters assigned to them in the barracks. Only one mess hall was operating today. Photograph shows …
Bedding and clothing in front of barracks (ddr-densho-151-456)
img Bedding and clothing in front of barracks (ddr-densho-151-456)
Original caption: San Bruno, California. This assembly center has been open for two days. Bus- load after bus-load of evacuated Japanese are arriving today. After going through the necessary procedure, they are guided to the quarters assigned to them in the barracks. This family had just arrived. Their bedding and clothing have been delivered by truck …
Mother and children outside of barracks (ddr-densho-151-258)
img Mother and children outside of barracks (ddr-densho-151-258)
Original caption: Stockton, California. This family of Japanese ancestry has just arrived in the center this morning. The mother and the children are waiting at the door of the room in the barracks to which they have been assigned. The father is at the baggage depot where their bedding and clothing are unloaded and inspected for …
Assembly center gate (ddr-densho-151-56)
img Assembly center gate (ddr-densho-151-56)
Original WRA caption: San Bruno, California. A sign at the main entrance of the Tanforan Assembly center, through which all traffic passes. The gate is guarded and controlled by United States soldiers.
View of barracks (ddr-densho-151-346)
img View of barracks (ddr-densho-151-346)
Original caption: San Bruno, California. Shown here is one type of barracks for family use. These were formerly the stalls for race horses. Each family is assigned to two small rooms, the inner one with no outside door nor window. The center has been in operation for about six weeks. 8,000 evacuees are now assembled here.
Japanese American in front of barracks home (ddr-densho-151-47)
img Japanese American in front of barracks home (ddr-densho-151-47)
Original WRA caption: San Bruno, Calfiornia. This assembly center has been opened for two days. Busload after busload of evacuated Japanese are arriving this day. After going through the necessary procedures, they are guided to the quarters assigned to them in the barracks. This family newly arrived, are in the process of settling down. The old …
Horse stall at the Tanforan Assembly Center (ddr-densho-151-20)
img Horse stall at the Tanforan Assembly Center (ddr-densho-151-20)
Original WRA caption: San Bruno, California. A near- view of a horse stall left from days when what is now Tanforan Assembly center, was the famous Tanforan Race Track. Most of these stalls have been converted into family living quarters for evacuated Japanese.
View of barracks and mess hall (ddr-densho-151-345)
img View of barracks and mess hall (ddr-densho-151-345)
Original caption: San Bruno, California. Another view of barracks at the Tanforan Assembly center, after approximately six weeks of occupancy. The building on the right is one of the eighteen such mess halls which, together, accommodate approximately 8,000 persons for three meals each day.
Sacramento Assembly Center, California (ddr-densho-151-75)
img Sacramento Assembly Center, California (ddr-densho-151-75)
Original WRA caption: Sacramento, California. This Center has been open for about a week. It has a capacity for 5000 persons. The people seen walking across the field toward the barracks are mothers and children of Japanese ancestry who have been in the playground and are coming back to the messhall for lunch.
Telegram from Shigeo Fukuhara to Tatuya Ichikawa (ddr-densho-258-205)
doc Telegram from Shigeo Fukuhara to Tatuya Ichikawa (ddr-densho-258-205)
A telegram sent to Tatsuya Ichikawa at Santa Fe Department of Justice Internment Camp from Shigeo Fukuhara at Minidoka Concentration Camp informing Tatsuya that his two youngest children have been hospitalized. Fukuhara informs Ichikawa that telegrams from the Minidoka Health Nurse and Social Service Counselor have been sent to help Ichikawa get temporary parole so he …
Tule Lake Cooperator, Vol. 2 No. 36 (November 13, 1943) (ddr-densho-289-3)
doc Tule Lake Cooperator, Vol. 2 No. 36 (November 13, 1943) (ddr-densho-289-3)
Selected article titles: "Co-op Will Keep Cash For Colonists With Interest" (p. 1), "Editorial: Government" (p. 1), "Difficulty in Supplying Laundry Soap" (p. 1).
Information Bulletin No. 1 (ddr-densho-320-2)
doc Information Bulletin No. 1 (ddr-densho-320-2)
Contains information about living quarters, meals, and other services in the camps.
Information Bulletin No. 1 (ddr-densho-320-1)
doc Information Bulletin No. 1 (ddr-densho-320-1)
Contains information about living quarters, meals, and other services in the camps.
Letter to Kinuta Uno at Fort Missoula (ddr-densho-324-17)
doc Letter to Kinuta Uno at Fort Missoula (ddr-densho-324-17)
Correspondence from Kinuta Uno's wife and daughter discussing life at Pinedale Assembly Center.
Letter from Seda Suzuki to Rev. and Mrs. Miller, 1942 September 11 (ddr-csujad-20-19)
doc Letter from Seda Suzuki to Rev. and Mrs. Miller, 1942 September 11 (ddr-csujad-20-19)
A letter sent to Mr. and Mrs. Wendell Miller giving thanks for his sermon. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-46_19
Letter from the Suzuki's to Rev. and Mrs. Miller, circa 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-13)
doc Letter from the Suzuki's to Rev. and Mrs. Miller, circa 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-13)
Letter from the Suzuki's to Rev. and Mrs. Miller regarding recent happenings at the Santa Anita Assembly Center. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-46_14
Letter from June Harino to Rev. Miller, 1942 October 15 (ddr-csujad-20-22)
doc Letter from June Harino to Rev. Miller, 1942 October 15 (ddr-csujad-20-22)
A letter from June Harino sent to Miller regarding her being assigned to a camp in Jerome, Arkansas where there awaits a "certain someone" with whom she is very happy. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-46_11
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